Real Estate Market

Featured Listing

Featured Listing

For Sale: $225,000

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Highlands County Market Trends

The Art and Benefit of Correctly Pricing Your Home to Sell

Now that you have decided to sell your home, the most important decision you will make (other than selecting the right agent to list your home) is the correct price to list your home for. Pricing homes appropriately requires quite a bit of research, time and market knowledge.  

Before you understand what goes into selecting the right price, it’s important to know the factors that won’t be included when deciding the price of your home. How much you paid for it, how much you owe on it, the amount you have spent updating it and the amount you hope to get so you can buy the new house you want are not relevant. Prices are determined by comparing recent sales data to your home and making adjustments to most accurately reflect your home.  

There are many components of a home and the more similar your home is to the other homes that have sold, the more likely the prices are to be similar. When we look for comparable sales, we will select homes that are in the same general area, have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms and similar square footage, similar lot sizes, updated, not updated or moderately updated, municipal services, similar amenities and similar condition. We will also need to select homes that were recently sold so the time frame will be as close as possible. Consideration should also be given to other similar currently listed properties and properties that are under contract as well.  

When you are getting your home ready to list, you will likely have some items that need to be fixed or updated. It is always your choice whether you want to do these or not, but buyers are likely to perceive the value of your home based on items they want to change or that need to be fixed. So, if your carpet hasn’t been replaced, the buyers looking at your home are likely to place a value on that and reduce the offer they make on your home to compensate for that. Because perceived value is frequently different than replacement cost, you may wind up selling your home for less than if you had made the necessary updates to begin with and been able to sell your home for top value.  

Another thing to consider when pricing your home is to select a price that falls into a price range that will provide you maximum exposure. When your home is at the high or low end of a price range, you need to think hard to make sure the price makes sense and won’t cost you exposure. Suppose you price your home at $205,000 just to give you a little room for negotiation. When buyers are searching for homes, they search homes priced from $200,000-$250,000. Your home falls in the bottom of that search but is much less appealing than the homes closer to $250,000 causing your home to pale in comparison. After 30 days of no activity, you start wondering what’s wrong and after 60 days, you decide to drop the price to $199,000. Now your home is at the top of the price bracket you are in making it shine compared to its competition, but you also lost 60 days on the market and likely multiple opportunities to sell.  

Appropriately pricing your home will be challenging but an in-depth analysis of your property and its closest competition will allow us to price your home to sell when you are ready to list it. 

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home

Image courtesy of merio/ 

Don’t Let Closing Costs Surprise You

When you are purchasing a home, there’s a lot to think about and it is easy to overlook something if you don’t do your research in advance. One thing you may not be prepared for are the closing costs that come along with a home purchase. 

If you are getting a mortgage when you buy a home, the mortgage will only pay for the home itself minus your down payment. There are still other expenses you will incur during the homebuying process that will need to be paid. They can add up quickly but as long as you are planning for them from day one, they won’t derail your road to homeownership. 

Closing costs is a group of expenses you will likely incur between contract and closing on your new home. Many of them are rather small, thought they add up to much more, but you still need to be prepared. Some of the items you can expect to incur costs for while you are under contract to purchase a home are a credit report, loan origination fees, legal fees, inspections, appraisal, title search, title insurance and recording fees. Don’t neglect to consider closings costs if you are paying cash for your home either. Some expenses don’t apply when paying cash for a home but many still do. 

If you are getting a mortgage to buy the home, you can expect to receive a loan estimate from your lender within three days of applying for your loan. This estimate will outline the expenses you will incur while purchasing a home including your interest rate, monthly payment, tax and insurance estimates and closing costs. You can also rely on your real estate agent to educate you on some of the closing costs you will incur. 

In some price ranges and certain markets, it is common to see buyers ask the sellers to help pay for closing costs and sometimes the sellers even offer to pay all or part of your closing costs as a marketing tool when they list their home. Remember that little in life is free and this is no exception. While the seller may agree to pay your closing costs, they are just adding this amount to the purchase price of the home. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. If you don’t have the necessary cash to cover your closing costs in addition to your down payment, having the seller cover this item can be a great thing.

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home.

Image courtesy of alexanderstein/ 

Amp Up Your Outdoor Lighting

The primary purpose of outdoor lighting is to help you see better when you are outside at night but there are some extra benefits to outdoor lighting as well. Light is one of the easiest and least expensive safety and security measures available. You are less likely to be injured in a fall when you can see your surroundings well. Light also deters criminals who may be looking for a dark place to hide. 

Outside lighting doesn’t have to be complex. A few simple changes can make a big impact without a lot of effort. If you have no lighting outside, an easy place to start is with a light at the front and back doors. This will allow you to see outside and provide light if you are coming in at night. Adding timers to your lights is another easy way to provide extra security. Set the timers so the lights will be on when you arrive home at night. As an added benefit if you are away from home overnight, the timers will keep your house from looking empty. 

Another versatile lighting addition is to add a flood light with a motion sensor on it. This will alert you when someone is in your yard at night. Add lights along a path or on a post to help light up your yard. These can make a nice statement while illuminating the area for safety and security. If there are parts of your yard that you would like to use at night, there are lots of options that will make that possible. Pool lights, patio lights or lights installed at the base of trees can all help light up the area so you can entertain in the evenings or make it possible to take a late night swim. In recent years, outdoor lighting options have gone beyond the basic and there are now really spectacular choices that reflect your individuality. 

There are many options now that are powered by small solar panels attached to the lights. Utilizing solar powered lights outside will allow you to skip the electrician and new wiring and add lighting quickly and easily with just a trip to your local home improvement store. As an added bonus, you won’t have to pay for electricity to light them up. Many of these solar powered lights are small and can be installed almost anywhere. 

Lighting up your yard doesn’t have to be a major expense. A few simple additions can make a big impact without major effort or expense and before you know it you will no longer be tripping over the toys your kids left in the yard when you take the dog out for the last time before bed. 

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.  

Image courtesy of fifteen22photo/

Client Testimonials

Proactive and Accommodating

We decided at the last minute to look at lake houses in the Lake Placid area. The weekend we had available would be the only time we could be in Lake Placid for several months. Our Local RE/MAX Realtor made several phone calls to Lake Placid/Sebring Realtors hoping to find one to help us and you were the only one who said yes without hesitation! You showed us several homes and while none worked out, you developed such a keen sense of what we needed that we later purchased a home sight unseen. We were very pleased with your service and would definitely use you again as well as refer you to others in the future. In fact we told our local realtor that you should be her referral source for the Lake Placid/Sebring area.”
Joe & Mary Lawrence, Wellington, FL

Quick Results

Maureen - wonderful job! I had total confidence in you and knew you would be honest and specific with me regarding questions, concerns, protocol, etc. Thanks for helping me sell the house so quickly!!”

Pam Maxwell-Burnham, Avon Park, FL

Simply the Best

You did a great job working with us on the purchase of our Florida home. We have moved many times and you were one of the finest Realtors we have dealt with.”

Carl & Alice Lundgren, Sebring, FL



For the uninformed, blogging is hitting the Internet today and making a real impact!

What is a blog? An easy explanation of this is a WEB LOG or a journal on the web. It’s a place where folks can “voice” their thoughts, share ideas, or comment on those of others. 

Highlands County Florida now has such a blog where new items of interest will be posted and comments can be made. Topics range from those related to real estate and community highlights to local events of interest or anything personal or business related that might be perceived as worthwhile information for public knowledge, discussion and/or use. 

It’s even possible to subscribe to a blog of interest and receive text updates on your iPod! Check out the latest updates for the Highlands County Real Estate Blog:   

Thanks for reading my newsletter, and please feel free to forward this email in it's entirety to anyone you feel would benefit from it.    

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Contact Information

Photo of Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS Real Estate
Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS
RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South
Sebring FL 33870
Toll Free: 1 888 243-COOL (2665)
Fax: 863-385-5897

Maureen Cool * RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South, Sebring, Florida 33870
Toll Free:  1-888-243-COOL (2665)
Office: 863-385-0077 X215
Direct: 863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897



Maureen Cool of RE/MAX Realty Plus offers real estate services to buyers, sellers, relocation's in the Highlands County real estate area.

Including Polk County, Hardee County, Okeechobee County, Desota County and Glades County.

Whether you are looking for luxury, investment, second home, commercial, bank owned, foreclosures properties Maureen Cool and The Cool Team are your real estate professionals for the entire Central Florida area.

Maureen Cool is your Luxury Home Expert in Highlands County. 
She can assist you with your Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid real estate needs. 



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